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Exhibition 1971

Directorate of Telecommunications

Functions of the Directorate

Although other papers and presentations have dealt with various aspects of the work of the Directorate, it is thought that it would be helpful if the functions of the Directorate were summarised in this paper.

The Directorate is required -

a. to advise its customer services, namely the Police, Fire, Civil Defence and Prison services in England and Wales, and other divisions in the Home Office about radio, line, public address, closed circuit television and other telecommunications matters;

b. to maintain liaison with the Scottish Home and Health Department and the appropriate authorities of Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man on matters of common interest; and with Police Forces and Fire Brigades not in the Home Office radio scheme;

c. to represent the Home Office on various bodies, including various Cabinet and interdepartmental committees, concerned with telecommunications;

d. to plan and assign frequencies in the bands allocated to the Home Office and to control call-signs and operating procedures;

e. to collaborate with the Post Office Corporation on design and provision of specialised line facilities;

f. to design and engineer new radio schemes;

g. to arrange for the development, production, procurement, testing, storage, installation, maintenance and repair of communications equipment for its Customer Services;

h. to maintain radiac instruments in a serviceable condition and to ensure that they are correctly calibrated;

j. to provide a resource of operational equipment for emergency use and to set up special communications systems when required;

k. to assess and recover rental charges for equipment provided to its Customer Services;

l. to cost and apportion installation and maintenance charges for work carried out for its Customer Services and to recover these charges.

Organisation of Directorate

To carry out these functions, the Directorate has at the present time 920 staff, of whom 522 are professional engineers and technical staff, 135 are administration typing and stores staff and 263 are industrial support staff.

The staff are employed throughout England and Wales:- at Headquarters in Central London; at the Central Communications Establishment at Harrow; at Area Headquarters; at 10 Wireless Depots and their outstations; and at specialised Maintenance Units at Andover, Wiltshire and Bishops Cleeve Gloucestershire.

The Central Communications Establishment is divided into two sections. The Development Section is concerned with the evaluation and modification of commercially produced equipment, together with preparation of technical information and specifications. This section is also charged with the task of testing equipment on delivery from the manufacturers.

The Installation Section is responsible for planning, assembling and in some cases manufacturing equipment before final test. This section is jointly responsible with the Regional Wireless Engineer concerned for commissioning the final handing over of a scheme to the customer.

The main stock of radio equipment is held at CCE, Harrow, at Weedon in Northamptonshire and at Bishops Cleeve.

The regional wireless organisation consists of three Areas with headquarters at Harrow, Birmingham and Manchester. Each Area co-ordinates the activities of its Depots, liaises with Customer Services and acts as the advisory contact between them and Headquarters for requirements. The Area also overseas Depot installation and maintenance activities. There are ten Depots and two sub Depots in various locations throughout England and Wales. An additional Depot, covering the London area, is about to be set up:

Each Depot has technicians detached to workshops at the headquarters of various police forces. At the present time there are 60 of these outstations at which a total of about 200 technical and industrial staff are employed.

The Maintenance Unit at Bishops Cleeve was set up to maintain police pocketfones, fireman's alert receivers and associated base stations.

The Maintenance Unit at Andover is responsible for the maintenance and engineering support facilities for CCTV; the evaluation, repair and calibration of test equipment; and the design and construction of special test equipment and facilities.

Staff Structure

The existing complement of the Directorate is 920 broken down as follows:









Central Communications
Establishment Harrow




Area HQs)
Maintenance Units)




Appendix B on Administration Page 2 of 2 shows the organisation of the Directorate.

continued on page 2 ....

Acknowledgement: Home Office DOT Exhibition 1971 Papers
page updated: 15/03/19

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